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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Dothan

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(Hebrews Dothan', דֹּתָן, contracted for דֹּתִיַן, two cisterns, which occurs with ה directive, Dotha'yenah, דֹּת יְנָה, "to Dathan," Genesis 37:17 [first clause]; Sept. Δωδαείμ and Δωδαϊ v μ, the latter in Judith; Vulg. Dothain), the place where Joseph found his brethren, who had wandered thither with their flocks from Shechem, and where he was treacherously sold by them to the Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:17). It next appears as the residence of Elisha, and the scene of a remarkable vision of horses and chariots of fire surrounding "the mountain" (הָהָר ) on which the city stood, while the Syrians were smitten with blindness at the word of Elisha (2 Kings 6:13). It is not again mentioned in the O.T. (Reland, Palaest. page 739); but later still we encounter it then evidently well known as a landmark in the account of Holofernes's campaign against Bethulia (Judith 4:6; Judith 7:3; Judith 7:18; Judith 8:3). In the Vat., and Alex., and Vulg. text it is also mentioned in Judith 3:9, where the A.V. has "Judaea" (Ι᾿ουδαία for Δωταία ). This passage was a great puzzle to the old geographers, not only from the corrupt reading, Ι᾿ουδαίας, but also from the expression, still found in the text, τοῦ πρίονος τοῦ μεγάλου; A.V. "the great strait," literally, "the great saw." The knot was cut by Reland, who conjectured most ingeniously that πρίων was the translation of מִשּׂוֹר Massor = a saw, which was a corruption of מַישׁוֹר, Mishor" the plain" (Palaest. page 742 sq.). All these passages testify to its situation being in the center of the country, near the southern edge of the great plain of Esdraelon. Dothan is placed by Eusebius and Jerome twelve Roman miles north of Sebaste; or Samaria (Onomast. s.v. Δωθαείμ, Dothaim). The well into which Joseph was cast by his brothers, and consequently the site of Dothan, has, however, been placed by tradition in a very distant quarter, namely, about three miles south-east from Safed, where there is a khan called Khan Jubb Yusuf, the Khan of Joseph's Pit, because the well connected with it has long passed among Christians and Moslems for the well in question (Robinson, Res. 3:317). The true site of Dothan was known to the Jewish traveler Rabbi ha-Parchi, A.D. 1300 (see Zunz's extracts in notes to Benjamin of Tudela, Asher's ed. 2:434), and to Schwarz, A.D. 1845 (Palest. page 168); but neither of these travelers gives any account of the site. It was accidentally discovered in 1852 by Van de Velde (Narrative, 1:364-369). Dr. Robinson, in his last visit to Palestine, likewise identified the true site of Dothan in the modern name Dothan, a place which he found in the middle of a beautiful plain extending south-westerly from Kefr Kud (Capharcotia) to Attil, southeast of Lejjunm. He thus speaks of it: "It is now a fine green tell (knoll), with a fountain on its southern base, corresponding entirely to the position assigned to it by Eusebius. We were told at Ya'bad that the great road from Beisan and Zer'in to Ramleh and Egypt still leads through this plain, entering it west of Jenin, passing near Kefr Kud, and bending south-westward around Ya'bud to the western plain. It is easy to see, therefore, that the Midianites, to whom Joseph was sold in Dothan, had crossed the Jordan at Beisin, and were proceeding to Egypt along the ordinary road. It is obvious, too, that Joseph's brethren well knew the best places for pasturage. They had exhausted that of the Mukna by Shechem (Nablus), and had afterwards repaired to the still finer pastures here around Dothan"'(Bibliotheca Sacra, 1853, pages 122, 123).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Dothan'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/d/dothan.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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